A couple of mornings ago, my husband was reading his Bible before heading off to work and became interested in one of the side notes written in the margins of his Bible. The side note said God sometimes declines to remove hurts and hardships. We got into this (very) short conversation – he had to go to work, after all – about how we see/know of so many people who are faithful to God yet continue to live with hurts and hardships until the day they die. One of the biggest questions that others ask me when we get into conversations about faith, is why God allows so many bad things to happen in the world – especially when the victims of these events are people who seem to always be doing the right thing?
For me this is hard to answer in a way that doesn’t come across too harshly. I have never been able to understand people who reject God simply because bad things happen to them or around them. I’m not the type to feel like God owes it to me to make my life easy or even any better. In fact, the Bible – and common sense – make it clear that life is hard. I am not entitled to anything from God, and what I do have from Him I have because he loves me – not because He owes me.
The apostle Paul wrote about how he had a “thorn in (his) flesh,” a “messenger of Satan to torment (him),” and he pleaded with God three times to take it away. But God did not remove Paul’s thorn. God’s response to Paul was simply “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” There’s more to that story. You can read the entire context of the scripture in 2 Corinthians 12.
I have been to some churches that seem to carry the attitude that if we have enough belief, or worship and pray enough – we can break away from every hardship in our lives. I find this mentality to be damaging, because I do not believe that God will heal everything at this point in Earth’s story.
I don’t mean to sound harsh. I do understand what it’s like to have a “thorn in your flesh” that you can’t fix and that God either hasn’t yet fixed or won’t fix. Aside from my own personal drama that is continuously unfolding, I have been recently affected by the random deaths of three healthy, committed, young people who left behind families with small children – a newborn in one case. But I think the appropriate response is to trust that God knows what he’s doing – even when He allows the worst things to happen.
Even when He won’t fix the damage that’s been done by those worst things.
I don’t want to make it sound like God won’t fix any of your problems – He can and most certainly will tackle and defeat a great many challenges on your behalf! But for those challenges that He allows to remain in your life, trust that He knows what He’s doing.